Jim Varagona

Category: stl

>Lead Me Not Into Temptation

>I’ve been pushing ink lately. It certainly beats baby photography. It keeps me closer to home and doesn’t involve monotonous driving.

Nearby my place of work is a massive Wally Mart, which I recently stopped at to grab some gear to fight the winter weather. While looking for the supplies, I passed someone that looked eerily familiar. He was a bit worn since the last time I saw him about ten years ago, but I knew who it was. It was none other than Michael McGrath, my favorite molester priest, “the most sued former priest in St. Louis”, and also considered “the most dangerous St. Louis priest”. Needless to say I was in the presence of a local celebrity.

It felt good to see that he looked pretty rough. It is safe to say he’s packed on a few and his sneer looks more crooked than ever.

that sneer

After I passed the sick excuse for a human being, I thought about going back and confronting him. It actually made me recall the homeless man that molested my dogter. Are worthless people like these even worth confronting? He certainly hasn’t suffered much because of his behavior. He may be the most sued former priest here, but he’s yet to serve time or pay up as far as I know. That’s where the Catholic Church comes in to save the day.

I only wish he’d suffer a worse fate than obesity and aging. And I’m not even a victim or related to a victim of his. I only came close and that was close enough to piss me off. May his ills grow worse in the new year.

In other news dealing with abusive priests, the San Diego diocese is asking priests to donate a month’s salary to go towards the recent $198.1 million sexual abuse settlement. That dwarfs in comparison to the $600+ million settlement the Los Angeles diocese made in July, the largest ever by a diocese so far. The sad thing is that the San Diego Diocese is reaching out to its church goers and asking them to contribute to righting their wrongs.

The donation request is part of a new campaign called “Embracing Our Mission”
and will be used to help “cover the expense involved in compassionate outreach
to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of the
church,” the memo said.

They could at least have their own Bingo Night in America or something to rile up the troops.

The priests have also been taking things out on the nuns. I’m the last guy to stand up for the nuns, but the L.A. Archdiocese sold a convent that was still being occupied and had been for 40 years in order to raise funds for their record settlement.

Sister Angela has it right when she said “what hurts the most is what the money will be used for, to help pay for the pedophile priests. We have to sacrifice our home for that?”

How can Catholics support this nonsense? I know the priests must accept responsibility and make these settlements, but their methods are a bit ridiculous. Then again, I’m not sure how I’d raise hundreds of millions of dollars either…except for making a blockbuster motion picture. That may be their next move. Pay close attention to the producer credits of the movies you see at the multiplex in the future. It might include a Father or two.


>Happy Birthday Pete Parisi (an update)


When I took up the cause to get Pete Parisi a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, I intended to do what I set out to do. Some said it wouldn’t be possible considering Parisi doesn’t have much of a following or an influence outside of the St. Louis area. When Thomas Crone, a former professor of mine at Webster University, brought this up on the 52nd City blog, I responded with this:

Yes, I realize this is a stretch, but as I have mentioned in various other forums, the idea of a star for P.E.P. was brought up a while back by Jeff Daniel of the Post. I’ll put up that article by tomorrow in the links section of my WWM site. He also stated that some other honor could be bestowed upon Pete, such as an exhibit through the MO Historical Society. I think a petition drive is necessary to show the recognition and influence of the man.

Since I posted some vids on YouTube that I obtained while working on my documentary about Parisi, I have gotten quite a response from people from St. Louis, formerly from St. Louis, or those that have simply stumbled upon the mad genius of Pete. His national influence may not be there, but by comparing him to other known names like Michael Moore, Tom Green, and the Jerry Springer show, you cannot argue with him being ahead of his time. People across St. Louis and beyond watched this spectacle which later became a mainstream style and sense of humor.

So even if this doesn’t work, it reminds people about a common ground they all shared on Friday and Saturday nights for 15 years in our area. And maybe we could push our efforts towards a P.E.P. statue, complete with cigar.

Jeff Daniel made some important points in his piece. He compares the mix of humorous and frightening elements of WWM to that of David Lynch, the director of Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, and TV’s Twin Peaks. He says that unfortunately, as Parisi drifted into the afterlife in January of 2002, he was drifting into irrelevance.

As for the afterlife, may St. Louie Pete and St. Peter have a good conversation at the pearly gates. As for irrelevance, we owe it to Parisi to eliminate that possibility.

“The appreciation I get from people is the only pay I’ve ever received for this show,” the king of cable access once said. That appreciation should continue even if Parisi cannot.

Is it too much to suggest that the Missouri Historical Society acquire the entire “World Wide Magazine” catalog? Under president Robert Archibald, the Forest Park-based institution espouses a philosophy that history be more than just the famous names and important events of our recorded

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what Mr. Daniel wrote in his article. He goes on to say that WWM was reality television before reality television. Parisi was giving his own version of our history, what was current at the time, such as the episode entirely revolving around the Pope’s visit to St. Louis in January of 1999, or revisiting our past; I remember one of the first episodes of WWM I saw was with Pete driving around in his cab and he pointed out where the old Sportsmans Park once stood at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Dodier Street on the north side of the city.

People that were national figures or were on their way to becoming just that appeared on WWM, such as Jerry Mathers of Leave it to Beaver fame, Rudy Ray More AKA Dolemite, and then Governor of Missouri John Ashcroft, who went on to be U.S. Attorney General. That also includes Fred Willard, famous for various television roles and appearances in Christopher Guest’s films, such as Best in Show, who in 1990 hosted a program called “Access America”, which profiled the country’s more notable public access programs. Needless to say, a WWM clip made it onto the show, which lead to Willard visiting St. Louis and appearing on WWM. Parisi received a television for his show making it on there, eventhough it didn’t win best in show (heh heh). The TV became a prized posession of Pete’s.

Back when Pete was program director at KADI-FM 96.3 in St. Louis in 1979, Elvis Costello came to the Kiel Opera House to perform. Billboard magazine credits Parisi with informing the Costello camp that KSHE, the station sponsoring the concert, had just started playing Elvis shortly before the concert date, while their station had been playing him faithfully during his career. To this, Costello shot back at the concert by dedicating his newer single “Radio, Radio” to the promoting station, K-SHE 95. I’m sure they were pleased with lines like “And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools; tryin’ to anaesthetise the way that you feel.” This helped add fuel to an ongoing fued between the two stations and gave credence to the lyrics of that powerful song.

So I stand by Parisi definitely having a local impact, and at least a minimal national one. Take a look at the comments of folks that have signed the petition to get him a star. Too bad Nielsen doesn’t track public access viewers. Pete may not have had a great impact outside of our area, but I think what he did preceded a lot of what became popular after him, yet he was considered so alternative. He deserves enormous respect for that. I will send a letter to the nominations committee of the St. Louis Walk of Fame, but I will still leave up the petition to drum up more support.

One more note…if the show is to be preserved, the master tapes must be acquired from Parisi’s then girlfriend Linda Vaughan. She has posession of them, and since I have heard nothing to the contrary, I can only assume they are collecting dust and degrading instead of being transferred to a digital format. Maybe the MO Historical Society or someone with clout could pony up to her.

If you enjoyed World Wide Magazine, Pete announcing at the SBAC wrestling matches before his show, or his time at KADI, make sure he doesn’t drift into irrelevance. Trade videos with others, post them on YouTube, contact the MO Historical Society, or whatever you see fit. P.E.P. deserves that.

So Happy 60th Birthday Peter Elias Parisi, from one of your 50,000 hoosiers.

>My Dogter, The Victim

>After an easy day at work last week, the wife and I decided to take our dogter for a walk and pick up dinner while we were out. Gray skies loomed overhead though in a physical and metaphorical sense.

We arrived at our local St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera Bread to non-St. Louisans–yes, it is ours) with a light drizzle falling. My wife went inside to order the eats. I took Sadie, our boxer, over to some sidewalk seating to wait. A rough looking homeless man was at the table adjacent to ours.

“That’s a boxer, right?”


At that point, I was actually quite impressed that he recognized her breed, considering most people think she is a pit bull for some reason. He asked me to bring her over, to which I did. He pet her and seemed so pleased. I was happy to make an unfortunate person’s day for a minute even. He explained how he had a full bred boxer as a child. Her name was Sadie too. He kept saying how good looking my Sadie was.

My wife came out while waiting for her pager to go off signalling the food was ready. The man told us we should breed Sadie, but we said she was fixed. He kept saying he didn’t understand no matter how many times and different ways we tried to explain it. She needed a companion, he kept saying. She needs a man.

She was perfect though. The right color and everything.

The rain started to come down. We moved under the little bit of shelter available outside the front entrance. My wife went inside to check on the grub.

The man followed Sadie and I and pet her as we stood in the rain, which was quickly appearing to be a monsoon. She sit and let him do so. It felt good to put a smile on his face. He did ask for money, but I explained we didn’t carry cash on our walks, which was true. He seemed to take it okay and said he knew we were good folks and would give to him if we could.

My wife started coming outside with dinner, but the rain was starting to come down sideways, so we moved into the lobby area of the establishment. Yes, we had our dog, but these were special circumstances. Once again, the homeless man followed. He had a seat towards the rear of the area while we stood closer to the door.

We watched the winds collapse umbrellas on three different people. It didn’t look like we’d be moving anytime soon. We thought about calling my mother-in-law who lives closeby, but that was nixed because we didn’t have pocket space to bring a phone.

He called Sadie to him to pet her and I smiled at him. His voice was rough. It had a Black Jesus quality to it.

She stuck her butt right out at him, waiting for him to pet it. The homeless man obliged and rubbed her beautiful coat. So perfect. He took one look at her positioning and told us, “She’s horny, see.”

“No, she just is friendly and wants attention,” I replied.

A woman walked through the lobby. She glanced down at Sadie and the man and made a gruesome face. Confused, I smiled back. She ran into the rain, turning back at us and screaming something unintelligible. I looked down at the two new friends and the man was rubbbing my dogter’s genitals. There was full motion that made it easily identifiable, yet unbelievable. I was in shock. He had reached third base with her, with us present.

If someone were to present the situation as a hypothetical, I’d say I’d stomp on his crotch, kick him in the face, and tell him off. The shock of the situation overcame us though. I yanked Sadie away and stared into the storm. Never would my wife run out into something like that, but she agreed and we did.

We screamed as we ran through the rains across the busy street. We had to run what had just happened by eachother to confirm it. I felt horrible and disgusted. I felt guilt for not annihilating the animal that I thought I was just being friendly to by letting him pet my dog.

It all made sense. He kept saying she was perfect and needed a companion. I think he already had an agenda. Having no home and not being able to afford a prostitute, what’s a guy like that to do? I would never come to the conclusion of getting his jollies from a dog in front of its owners, but now I can.

We raced home throught the storm, which was still close to full force. We felt disgusting and wondered what Sadie was thinking. Once we arrived home we put our wet dinner to the side and gave Sadie a hot bath to rid her of any of that man’s germs. I thought about what exactly he was doing back there. Did he stick to one entry point? How long was he doing that before we caught on? Does this make me a horrible father?

It’s been a while since this happened, but it still affects me when I look at my dog or go near that part of the neighborhood where this occured. My wife doesn’t want to discuss it and is considering leaving the neighborhood, which we couldn’t imagine ourselves leaving until this incident. So when walking you best friend, be weary of where folks are petting, and stay away from those that may be needing some sexual healing.

My dogter, the victim

>Give Pete Parisi a Star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame


A while back, I believe it was Jeff Daniel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who suggested that Pete Parisi of World Wide Magazine get a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. He also mentioned that there be an exhibit of World Wide Magazine, St. Louis’s most popular public access program which ran from 1986-2002.

In the past year, I have posted several videos from the program onto YouTube. There has been a great response. I get several emails a week from folks looking for more or just saying thanks. To do more, I have launched my own World Wide Magazine fan page. In stead of entering “www” before my site name at diabetoboy.com, enter “wwm” for obvious reasons. It isn’t much right now, but I will add more. It includes a player with all of the videos I uploaded and some more from others. There is a links section with a list of various articles about things WWM related. That way things are lumped together for you so you don’t have to search them out like I have in the past. If you have anything else to add, please contact me at jim@diabetoboy.com.

Most importantly, on the main page at wwm.diabetoboy.com, is a link to sign a petition to get Pete his own star on the local Walk of Fame in University City. For 15 years he gave the St. Louis hoosiers, which I am a part of, something to do on Friday nights. It’s time to recognize.

an example

>You Still Owe My Pimp 2 Hamiltons For That 8 Gallons You Got


As seen at the QuikTrip on South Kingshighway in South St. Louis, MO.

>Cardinals Fans Like Everyone…Except Matt Blunt

>After the Cardinals won it all, the city had a fancy parade downtown and it ended at the new Busch Stadium. The wife and I, along with my parents, attended the gala event at the stadium, which featured the Budweiser clydesdales and local dignitaries like Mayor Fancis Slay along with the winning team of course. Mr. Mike Shannon hosted the festivities.

It was nice to be excited some more after the big win on Friday night, but nothing will ever meet or beat that. My favorite moment wasn’t when Yadier Molina’s home run against the Mets was played or when Albert Pujols spoke. Before the players were even introduced, the governor of Missouri, Matt Blunt was introduced, and he received the only resounding boo of the day. It was as loud as the cheers for Pujols and I loved it. We may be the best fans in baseball for how loud we are or how considerate we are (even cheering for the teams we beat when Tony LaRussa asked us to), but we aren’t stupid.

Get your I HATE MATT BLUNT gear here.

>Adrenaline is Real

>I took the wife to a schoolhouse last night. It has been transformed into a music/event venue and happened to be showing Game 5 of the World Series on a 15 foot screen. I’m usually hesitant about trying new places without someone else vouching for it, but I had a good feeling about this.

The Lucas School House in Soulard is a quaint joint with leather seating abound. Their drinks were quite strong and tasty, which helped ease the building tension of the game between our Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers, who didn’t seem to even bring their C-game, unless you consider the one game they won at the hands of the almighty Cheater, Kenny “The Gambler” Rogers.

As the innings went by, we were joined by my mother-in-law, Dan (my best man), and Shannon’s friend Jeni and her friend Neil. Dan, the hippie that he is, tried reasoning with me that nothing was real, not even us at that point in time. I let him keep talking but I think it may have been the Caucasians. Dan frequently wonders what is real, but he was onto something last night. For the first time since I was a youngling (about 1.7 years), my home team was going to win the World Series, and in their new stadium to boot. Was it real?

I discussed with the others what our plan of action would be. Would we overturn cars and set fire to trash cans in our own city like the Red Sox fans did after beating us in 2004? It doesn’t make much sense, but overturning a Yugo is enticing, only because it is possible.

As Adam Wainwright, our youngster closer, threw the final strike, the adrenaline in the crowd skyrocketed. I’m not a huge sports nut, at least comparing myself to the jock types I despised in my earlier years, but sometimes the good feelings take hold, and you just must let go. We did, and we couldn’t breathe. My wife and I were afraid her heart condition from her childhood would get the best of her, but it didn’t, of course, because this was euphoria.

The excitement poured into the streets as people screamed, honked, drove and marched through the streets to let the people without televisions and radios know what was up. the six of us hopped in Shannon’s two-door car and drove into the madness of Downtown St. Louis. The traffic was barely moving and nobody cared. My mother-in-law was soliciting kisses from passers-by to share the love. Once we noticed a couple of fans abandoning their parking spot, everyone jumped out to hold back traffic so that I could maneuver my way into the spot.

I realized that we lost Dan somehow in the chaos. Sometimes he needs guidance, so I called him and tried to guide him to us as we arrived at the Stadium, which was about six blocks from our parking spot. As he made his way closer to us through the crowds, we managed to get into a still roaring Busch Stadium. It was an amazing sight that we took in from several rows up from third base. We danced and screamed in the forty degree weather that felt like seventy from our hearts pumping and the bit of alcohol left in us.

The wife and I were very ecstatic.

I still couldn’t find Dan though. He kept calling and we’d try to figure out where he was. At one point it sounded like he said he was at third base, which scared me a bit, but knowing him, I headed that way. He wasn’t on the field, but who knows if he though he was? After a back and forth of row numbers and seat numbers, I found him and brought him to the group.

Dan asked us if we wanted to streak on the field, but I wasn’t sure if the adrenaline could keep me warm through that, and I wasn’t sure if the perimeter of cops on the field would gas or mace me. He asked again if he should run out on the field, and we jokingly said sure.

Enter that package of bacon…I don’t think so.

Two minutes later, Dan hopped over the short wall right past third and walked several feet out. A female usher motioned to an officer on the field, and he proceeded towards Dan. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t make it that far. Dan held his hands up like there was some misunderstanding. At one point he even gave peace signs to the cop, but he was cuffed anyway. We just laughed hysterically in disbelief.

After I snapped out of it, I thought it may be a good idea to find out where he was going. I had never had to bail any friend out of jail before, but he was my best man, so I felt a duty to track him down once again.

We got mixed information from different workers at Busch. Most of the security had no idea where the security office was, which I found bizzare, so we had to find it on our own. I asked around there and they told me he was probably already taken to the city jail. Just then I got a call from Dan in his holding cell, still in the Stadium. He couldn’t believe that was real. It was though. I told him to call me when he got word of what was to happen.

In the meantime, I drove Jeni and my mother-in-law back to their vehicles back in Soulard. As I started on home, Dan called again saying to pick him up before he was raped. A cop he knew from his grade school years let him loose. I headed back only to find that police cars blocked every street into Downtown leaving only a perimeter leading us back onto the highway. That was only after we had to creep along in the celebratory traffic in the streets.

About a half hour later, we reunited with Dan. He still couldn’t understand. I couldn’t comprehend the night either. Our boys won. And I was to look forward to 3 hours of sleep before training to supervise the electronic voting machines on Election Day.

Tiredness is real too.

–I realize I have some photos posted but none of Dan on the field. My camera batts died right before it happened. I’m working to get Jeni’s photos to post. In the meantime, here’s a crappy photo from my phone with Dan flanked by po-po’s circled and pointed out for you.

UPDATE (11/1/06): A better photo of Dan (in gray fleece) on the field after being grabbed by a cop…

World Series (300x250)

>Ridin’ the Storm Out

>These are strange times in St. Louis.

On Wednesday, I had finished a 200+ mile route for my new job right before the storm hit. I really just noticed the sky of black moving my way overhead when I made it to the office in West St. Louis County. I still had to finish some paperwork and make copies before I could leave. The only person left in the office was my supervisor, who was staying to collect my work. The strong winds came in pretty fast, but I still thought we had time to get out of there. Not even ten minutes after I arrived, the power shut down. I laughed and paced, because that’s how I cope. We waited for the elecricity to return, so we could finish the work. It did, but just enough to tease us. I kept looking outside at the business park I was in. Parts of trees and random trash were flying by. It was very amusing.

I don’t feel comfortable with severe weather in the county. For some reason, the city avoids serious damage and tornadic activity a lot more than the county around here. Anyway, the building I was in was talking. It was creaking and whistling to the point that I thought there was a good chance of my first tornado. My supervisor gave me a candle that smelled nice. I would have rather been at home though. My dog was there alone in a kennel awaiting my arrival. The supe had to make calls to find out procedure for what to do if the building were to blow away. We were told to go hang out in an office with windows. Seriously. Their reasoning was that the walls of that office were still made of cinder blocks unlike the rest of the building. I didn’t buy it, but I was simply going with the flow. It was only my fourth day on this job, so I wanted to make a good impression.

Then the rains finally came. I watched through the narrow windows at the cloud formations moving by fairly quickly and the sheets of precipitation dumping out. It was obvious the power wouldn’t come back anytime soon. The supe called the higher ups and communicated that we were going to run for it. It takes fine management skills to decide to leave once the rain hits. We did though. The walk to my car 30 feet from the door was enough to soak me.

The drive home was interesting. I had no idea what lay ahead or behind me. The rain in my path though, was enough to cut visibility down considerably. Half of the cars on the highway had their flashers on. Since I don’t trust my own driving, especially in weather such as that, I followed suit. Some of the vehicles swayed in the wind. I could feel the wind pushing my car, but it just added an element of fun to the drive. Most of the cars were keeping a safe speed and distance, so I didn’t have to worry. The shoulder did contain a few results of those that weren’t being so careful.

About halfway through my drive, the rain calmed down a tad. The sky turned a bright orange from the sun setting and the storm exiting. Fittingly, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” by REO Speedwagon came on the radio, so I cranked it up. I am always a fan of mood music, even though I hate REO.

When I got home, the blocks leading up to it were riddled with tree branches and sometimes entire trees. I noticed two streets blocked off entirely by single trees. Of course, considering my luck as of late, our power was out when I reached the homestead, and at this point two nights later, it still is out. Interestingly enough, people three doors down and on somehow have their power. Ameren, the utility company here, gave themselves a 3-5 day window to clean this mess up, but a storm earlier today just added more to their statistics. As I write this, 500,000 homes are without power in this area.

I took Sadie, my boxer, for a walk through the neighborhood since she had been cooped up in the kennel thoughout the madness. Trees blocked our path several times. At the corner of our block, a man’s shed had been torn to pieces and thrown all over the street. This was certainly the worst storm damage I have ever seen first hand. And it is easily the longest I have ever gone without electricity.

The first night, I tried toughing it out with the windows open to the breeze of the 90 degree night air. Sadie and I made it though the night while the wife worked the graveyard shift, but we smelled like blooming onions by daybreak and had a fine layer of greasy sweat on us. My wife made the decision for us to move in with my folks and that’s where I will rest my head again tonight. At least we aren’t camping out on our porch like some people.

Today when I tried venturing out for work, disabled traffic signals made for long waits at intersections. I drove past 4 gas stations before I could find one with power. This is insane. The storm today helped the heat wave dissipate for a bit while we wait on all of these shortages and outages.

The National Guard is in town now to knock on doors to check on folks and give out water and cookies. I guess that beats suicide bombers and living in the deserts of the Mid East. Witnessing giant camoflaged vehicles parading through the city was a strange sight for me. I saw two caravans as I drove around today. The boys were decked out in full uniform. That makes this official disaster control. It makes me feel special. I only wish we were staying in our darkened apartment so the Guard would offer us goodies and a chance to stay in an air conditioned building that they refer to as “cooling centers” in these parts.

So the question of choice in St. Louis has gone from “Where did you go to High School?” to “Do you have power?”

Strange times indeed.


>Death TV


Yep, he’s dead.

Yep, them too.

And we see this on the national news too. I wonder how parents explain that to their inquisitive children.

I mean I like that bad guys are dead. Yay. And I guess since our government is known to lie to us a bit, it is good that they have proof that they accomplished something, but it is still a bit weird.

And why is it that when you are watching the national evening news, bombings, murders, and other brutal, bloody events overseas are shown uncensored, even when innocents are involved? Here, our local news may be filled with murders and accidents, but they at least they use a tarp and body bags, especially when a doctor throws himself and his boys from a balcony to protest his rocky marriage, from Alton, Illinois, by the way.

I don’t know what kind of precedents we are starting here. I mean I know we live in a sick world, but there is some gray area created here that I cannot figure out. Why is it okay to show the dead of others and not our own? If we do it out of respect, why not give them respect? If we act like it is so horrible that terrrorists show off the kidnapped and murdered, why do we show off their dead and allow our soldiers to have photos of torturing their people?

What a world, what a world.

Speaking of the dead, a woman from St. Peters, Missouri, which isn’t too far from me in the STL, beat her dead chihuahua’s breeder with the corpse of the dog. Apparently at 5:30 in the morning, she broke into the woman’s home to get a new dog, since hers died so soon.

The breeder wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing police.

This is what someone should have had a camera ready for and aired on TV. I’m sick of pointless war and terrorism.


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